Every June, National Scoliosis Awareness Month highlights the growing need for education, early detection, and awareness about scoliosis and its prevalence.
Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. It is most often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence.
Signs & Symptoms
- Shoulders are uneven
- The head is not centered directly above the pelvis
- One or both hips are raised or unusually high
- Rib cages are at different heights
- Waist is uneven
- The entire body leans to one side
- X-ray – application of radiation to produce a film or picture of a part of the body can show the structure of the vertebrae and the outline of the joints
- Computed tomography scan – a diagnostic image created after a computer reads X-rays; can show the shape and size of the spinal canal, its contents, and the structures around it
- Magnetic resonance imaging – a diagnostic test that produces three-dimensional images of body structures using powerful magnets and computer technology; can show the spinal cord, nerve roots, and surrounding areas, as well as enlargement, degeneration, and deformities
While most people with scoliosis have a mild form of the disorder, scoliosis may sometimes cause complications, including:
- Breathing problems- the rib cage may press against the lungs, making it more difficult to breathe
- Back problems- people who had scoliosis as children may be more likely to have chronic back pain as adults, especially if their abnormal curves are large and untreated
- Appearance– as scoliosis worsens, it can cause more noticeable changes — including uneven hips and shoulders, prominent ribs, and a shift of the waist and trunk to the side
Scoliosis treatments vary, depending on the severity of the curve. Bracing or surgery may be needed if the spinal curve is moderate or severe.
If your child’s bones are still growing and he or she has moderate scoliosis, your doctor may recommend a brace. Wearing a brace won’t cure scoliosis or reverse the curve, but it usually prevents the curve from worsening.
Severe scoliosis typically progresses with time, so your doctor might suggest scoliosis surgery to help straighten the curve and prevent it from getting worse.
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of scoliosis, consult a doctor via Maxicare’s 24/7 Teleconsult Hotline, Videoconsult services powered by the Doctor Anywhere App, or Maxicare Primary Care Clinic (PCC). You may also visit a PCC or request HomeCare for lab tests and diagnostic procedures.